Jeffrey Dean Morgan Explains Why He Stopped Reading 'The Walking Dead'

If you were cast in an adaptation of a long-running comic, book series, etc., would you read the source material? For most of us, the knee-jerk response is probably “Of course I would!” If nothing else, it would seem like the best way to get a sense of who your character is, right? Well, be that as it may, it’s not always that simple. Some actors aren’t interested, others are discouraged from doing so by their directors, and still others have their own reasons.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan falls into the third category. When asked on Twitter whether or not he’d read the comics that inspired ‘The Walking Dead‘, he said that he had. However, his answer was decidedly past tense, as Morgan also revealed that his reading only went so far. Why? Well, I’ll let him explain it:

“I stopped reading after introduction. Wanted to form my own reactions. And also not fall in love with comic storylines and then not follow. I own them all. Gus reads. I will look at particular scenes if we film. But I’m saving them for when Negan is no more. Or the show ends… ha!”

Essentially, his reasons are twofold. First, he didn’t want to fall in love with comic storylines that the show might not adapt. It’s a reasonable concern. After all, the show’s plot started to diverge from that of the comic as early as the first season, and the differences have only grown more pronounced in the years since.

Morgan’s second reason is rather more “actorly.” As he puts it, he wants to “form [his] own reactions.” Put another way, he wants to react organically to the situations that arise on the show, without the potential foreknowledge that would come from reading the comic. It also means that he can develop his approach to and understanding of Negan based solely on what the writers and producers present to him rather than trying to balance that with the potentially very different character he might become accustomed to as a comics reader.

‘The Walking Dead’ is currently on hiatus, having aired its midseason finale on AMC this past weekend. The hit zombie drama will return in 2019. For more on ‘The Walking Dead’ as it becomes available, be sure to check back with!